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CANISIUS NARROWS AD CANDIDATES LIST TO FINAL FOUR

Canisius has settled on four finalists for its vacant athletics director position and the front-runner continues to be University at Buffalo interim AD Bill Maher.

Canisius officials confirmed that Maher, a 1989 Canisius grad who is a former compliance director at the college, will be joining three others in a series of interviews with the school's 17-member search committee and in forums with the campus community. Maher's name has been widely circulated on campus as the favorite since the forced resignation of Tim Dillon in February.

The other finalists are Robin Reynolds, associate athletics director and senior women's administrator at Santa Clara; Brian Colleary, athletics director at Duquesne; and Sean Frazier, director of athletics and recreation at Clarkson.

Reynolds is scheduled to be on campus Friday while Colleary's sessions will be Monday. Maher will have his turn April 29 and Frazier will complete the interviews on May 2. A decision is expected by mid-May.

Maher has been at UB for seven years and has held the top spot since 2003. He came to UB in 1998 after serving as an assistant AD for compliance at Canisius from 1994-1998. At Canisius, Maher was a physical education major and two-year starter at offensive tackle for the football team.

The search committee is chaired by Dr. Cary Anderson, dean of students. Anderson said there were about 50 applicants and the finalists will meet with the committee in small groups on the same day as their forum.

"It's been interesting, a good process for us to find out candidates are out there and interested in Canisius athletics," Anderson said. "We're in a good place, we want to get better and a lot of people want to join us."

Colleary has the most experience (16 years as AD at Duquesne) but the most baggage on his resume. Colleary's contract at the Pittsburgh school is not expected to be renewed when it expires June 30. He is also a finalist at Georgia State.

The Duquesne men's basketball program has been a perennial failure in the Atlantic 10, has not made the NCAA Tournament since 1977 and is struggling to get its facilities upgraded. But the school has had a highly successful non-scholarship I-AA football program and winning programs in cross country, baseball and women's lacrosse.

Colleary is also expected to be a candidate at UB and has the support of Buffalo Bills President and General Manager Tom Donahoe, whom he met while Donahoe was with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Donahoe was a courtside regular at UB basketball games last season and Colleary's son, Chris, is the Bills' director of premium seat services. Chris Colleary is also a former director of amateur athletics at HSBC Arena.

Reynolds is in her fifth year at Santa Clara, where she is responsible for the athletics department's internal operations such as budgets, personnel and contracts. She came to Santa Clara in 2000 after 2 1/2 years as the director of human resources for athletics at Stanford. She is a graduate of Hunter College in New York City.

Frazier became AD at Clarkson in 2002 after stints as AD at Division III Manhattanville and an assistant AD at Maine. A former assistant football coach at Boston University, he played at Alabama from 1988-1991 and was a part of one SEC championship team and four bowl teams.
e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com